Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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anti-counterfeitanti-oxidizingCatalytic nanoparticlesNanomaterialsoxidizing agentSecurity


Counterfeiting is a growing problem faced by many industrial sectors, from consumer products to specialized technologies. Other than being an economic burden, counterfeiting also puts human health at risk as the number of fake drugs invading the market is increasing in an exponential way. Several materials and chemical processes have been proposed as anti-counterfeiting tags, for example upconverted nanophosphors for the ability to emit visible lights upon near-infrared excitation and molecular taggants such as DNA, peptides and polymers for their high encoding capacities and covertness. These, when added also in trace amounts to products can be clearly detected, however require specialized equipment and personnel.

Technical features

The inventors at IIT have developed a simple to use, colorimetric readout anti-counterfeiting tag, with a 1-minute detection time, which does not require specialized instrumentation nor personnel. The method consists in depositing a solution A catalytic nanoparticle (platinum), onto a substrate for reproducing a predetermined and/or random pattern, followed by second solution, B, containing a chromogenic substrate and an oxidizing agent. When solutions A and B come into contact, a visible colorimetric change takes place. Once the pattern has been recorded, an anti-oxidizing agent, solution C, can be used to reverse the pattern until a new detection is carried out.

Possible Applications

  • Anti-counterfeiting and security;
  • Quality control.


  • Easy and quick detection;
  • Reversible procedure;
  • Procedure is hard to clone;
  • No specialised personnel required.